Average Real Estate Commission in California

Bailey Peterson

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Bailey Peterson

July 13th, 2021
Updated July 13th, 2021

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How commission works | How to save on commission | The current California housing market | The best low commission companies | Methodology

📊 The data: We surveyed local agents and found that the average real estate commission in California is 4.92%, which is less than the national average of 5.50%.

That means, to sell an average California house worth $700,800 you’ll pay about $34,500 in realtor fees.

Realtor commission is usually the largest cost you'll face when selling your home — but you don't have to pay the full 4.92%.

Selling with a discount real estate company like Clever could help you save thousands on commission. Clever negotiates 1% listing fees with full-service California realtors from top brokers.

On that same $700,800 home — you'd pay just $23,900, up to 31% less than paying average rates.

» SAVE: Sell with Clever for 1% listing fees and save thousands in commission!

Below, we cover everything you need to know about California real estate commission fees and share tips on how to save more when you sell.

How real estate agent commission works in California

There are usually two real estate agents involved in a home sale:

  • The seller's agent (also called the listing agent), who represents the home seller
  • The buyer's agent, who represents the person buying the home

Both agents earn a percentage of the home's final price when the sale closes. This payment is called real estate agent commission, and it's baked into the sale price when you sell your home.

Based on our research, the average commission split in California has 51.1% of the commission going to the listing agent and 48.9% going to the buyer's agent.

» LEARN: How do real estate commissions work?

Who pays realtor fees in California?

In California, home sellers pay real estate commission fees out of the final sale proceeds for both agents involved in a deal.

However, since this commission is baked into the sales price, you could say that the home buyer is paying — at least in part — through a higher price.

» LEARN: Who pays realtor commission?

How to save on real estate commission in California

💰 Best ways to save on commission:

  • Negotiating lower rates with a traditional realtor
  • Working with a low commission real estate company

Keep reading to learn how you can negotiate cheaper rates or find low commission companies that negotiate lower realtor fees for you!

💰 Sellers Can Save Thousands With Clever!

When you sell with Clever, you get full-service support from a top local agent and only pay a listing commission of 1% or $3,000. Clever sellers save an average of $9,000 on commission, no haggling required. Find a top local agent to sell your home now!

Tips for negotiating realtor commission in California

Whether you’re selling a beachside condo in San Diego, a historic bungalow in Los Angeles, or a vacation home in Lake Tahoe, it’s a lot simpler than you think to save thousands of dollars on your commission costs!

Negotiating a lower realtor percentage in California depends on two main factors: your situation and the housing market.

Factor
You may have an easier time negotiating low rates if...
Your situation
  • You're selling a high-value home
  • You have a personal relationship with a realtor
  • You can offer a realtor repeat business
The California housing market
  • Homes are selling quickly
  • There are relatively few homes listed for sale
  • Home values are rising

While your personal situation will obviously vary, California real estate market conditions will affect all home sellers in your area.

In general, in a seller's market — where home sellers have more leverage than buyers — a listing agent's job is easier and they may be more willing to lower their commission rates. The opposite is usually true in a buyer's market.

» LEARN: Find our top tips for negotiating lower commission fees

To judge the current state of your real estate market, look at these three factors:

  • Months of inventory
  • Sale to list price
  • Home value trends

If every factor points to California being a seller's market, then you may be in a good position to negotiate a lower commission rate with your agent. If market conditions are mixed or favor buyers, it may be more challenging to persuade your realtor to accept a cheaper fee.

The current state of the California real estate market

Factor
Trends
Indication
Months of inventory
There's 0.9 months of housing inventory on the market
Seller's market
Sale-to-list ratio
Homes are selling for 103.80% of their listing price
Seller's market
Home values
Home values have risen 20.1% year over year
Seller's market

» FIND: The average commission rates in more California cities:

Los Angeles | Riverside

Find a top realtor in California

Ready to negotiate with an agent in your area? We looked at the data and found the top California agents for you.

» FIND: The best California realtors by city

Low commission real estate companies in California

Negotiating a lower rate with a professional negotiator can be hard! In many cases, home sellers can save just as much (or more!) by selling with a low commission real estate company.

These are some of the top discount and flat-fee MLS services in California.

The top discount real estate companies in California

Discount real estate companies typically offer full-service support for a reduced commission percentage or flat rate. Like traditional agents, these agents are fully licensed and have met all of the requirements of the California real estate commission board.

How they create those discounts will depend on the company's model, with some creating more risks and tradeoffs than others.

Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate

Learn More

💲 Listing Fee

$3,000 or 1%

💰 Avg. Savings

$7,375

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (1,143 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Clever is a quick, easy, and free way to find a top-rated local agent. And, unlike many similar companies, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts on your behalf, so you can save thousands without sacrificing on service.


Try Clever for free — save thousands on commission

  • Free, nationwide agent-matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX
  • Provides multiple agent matches so you can interview, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit
  • Pre-negotiates low rates on your behalf — you get full service for a flat $3,000 listing fee, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000
  • If you buy with Clever, you could get a check worth up to 0.5% of the home price
  • You may not get matched with an agent from your preferred real estate brokerage.
  • Agents may not provide premium services like drone photography and professional home staging.

As of April 2, 2021, Clever has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, based on 974 reviews.


Read reviews from real Clever customers here.

Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC.

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💲 Listing Fee

1.5% (min. fees vary)

💰 Avg. Savings

$5,550

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (287 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Redfin offers real savings and a proven brand. But sellers could compromise on service — especially agent experience and availability.


Read the full Redfin review.

  • If you buy and sell with Redfin, you'll get a 0.5% listing fee discount
  • Redfin gives its listings premium placement in its popular home search app
  • If finding the right agent is a top priority, you'll have limited options Redfin only has a few agents in each of its markets
  • Redfin agents handle more customers at once than the average realtor, so they may not be able to provide as much personalized service

Redfin has a 3.2 out of 5 rating (287 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Yelp.


Read reviews from real Redfin customers here.

Redfin is available in 80+ U.S. markets (see all locations).

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Home Bay

Home Bay

Full Review

💲 Listing Fee

Varies by home price

💰 Avg. Savings

$8,450

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

4.4/5 (497 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Home Bay's fees are too high to justify the limited service. Other discount options offer better value for the same price.


Read the full Home Bay review.

  • On paper, Home Bay offers many of the same the services traditional agents provide
  • It's a lot cheaper than selling with a traditional agent (although it's more expensive than similar options)
  • Home Bay costs as much as many full-service brands, but it offers MUCH less value
  • You'll have to pay a non-refundable 10% listing fee deposit when your house goes on the market
  • On average, you'll get less than 90 minutes of contact with a licensed Home Bay agent throughout your entire sale

Home Bay has a 4.4 out of 5 rating (497 reviews) across popular review sites like Google, Trustpilot, and Zillow.


Read reviews from real Home Bay customers here.

Home Bay is currently only available in California.

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Prevu Real Estate

Prevu Real Estate

Full Review

💲 Listing Fee

1.5% (min. fees vary)

💰 Avg. Savings

$2,450

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (115 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Prevu offers solid commission savings for buyers and sellers. But at certain price points, other discount brands may offer better value.


Read the full Prevu review.

  • Prevu's 1.5% listing fee saves sellers an average of $2,450 compared to a standard 3% commission rate.
  • Eligible buyers get a commission rebate worth up to 2% of the home price
  • High minimum fees may limit your savings if you're selling a lower-priced home
  • Prevu has a small team, which limits your options if you don't hit it off with the first agent they send you

Prevu has a 4.9 out of 5 rating (115 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Yelp.


Read reviews from real Yelp customers here.

Prevu is available in the following areas: CA, CT, MA, NY, PA.

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» LEARN: How do discount real estate brokers offer lower fees?

The top flat-fee MLS listing services in California

Flat-fee MLS services list your home on your local MLS for a low fee, often around $100-300. The trade-off is that you'll have to handle almost the entire home-selling process yourself. If you're a real estate novice, or simply don't have the time to sell your home without a realtor, this might not be a good option.

Congress Realty

Congress Realty

Congress Realty

Best For

Sellers who want a lot of a-la-carte options

Price Range

$299

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Congress Realty has a phone system that forwards any phone calls about your listing directly to you.
  • You can request a free Comparative Marketing Analysis if you want a better idea of what homes in your area have sold for recently.

Cons:

  • Congress Realty costs a lot more than competitors with similar MLS packages.
  • You have to pay an extra $50 if you want more than four photos in your listing.
SHOW MORE
MLS Town

MLS Town

MLS Town

Best For

Budget-conscious sellers who only need a basic listing

Price Range

$95-895

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • You can add on listing support and offer negotiation for an hourly fee.
  • The basic listing comes with eight photos. Many listing packages under $100 include less than five photos.

Cons:

  • The basic listing is only a three-month listing term. If you need more time, you have to upgrade to the Annual plan for a 12-month listing.
  • You can't make changes to your listing or add open houses with the basic plan.
  • This broker is currently only available in Northern California.
SHOW MORE

» MORE: What you need to know about flat-fee MLS services.

Learn more

The Golden State is one of the most gorgeous states in the U.S., offering everything from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, to the laid-back vibes of San Diego, to the down-to-earth lifestyle of Sacramento. That also means there are homes for sale at every price point, as well as perpetually high demand when it’s time to sell off and trade up.

As you might expect from a densely-populated state with a constant influx of new residents, California has a bit of a housing shortage, especially on the affordable end of the market. While this can frustrate potential buyers, it’s great for sellers, who can expect fast, lucrative offers soon after their homes hit the market. And the competition doesn’t just apply to buyers. In a market this hot, agents are often willing to cut you a deal on commission if it means getting the sale.

Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates of only 1%, or a flat fee of $3,000 if your home sells for less than $350,000, with California’s top agents. Contact Clever today to find out how much you can save on commission!

👋 Next Steps: Talk to an expert!

If you're weighing your options for buying or selling a house, Clever can help!

Our fully-licensed concierge team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on getting the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

Ready to get started?

Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your info below. Our concierge team will be in touch shortly to help.

Remember, this service is 100% free and there’s never any obligation.

Methodology

Our data on commission rates is based on a survey of 915 of our partner agents, in which we asked for typical rates for both buyer's and seller's agents in their area.

Additionally, we utilized the following data from Zillow and Realtor.com:

  • Home values, list prices, and sale prices: Based on Zillow data as of July 2021
  • Sale prices and sale-to-list ratios: Based on Redfin data as of April 2021 (unless specified otherwise)
  • Months of inventory: Based on Realtor.com data as of August 2021

Additional Resources for California Home Sellers

Better real estate agents at a better rate

Enter your zip code to see if Clever has a partner agent in your area.

If you don't love your Clever partner agent, you can request to meet with another, or shake hands and go a different direction. We offer this because we're confident you're going to love working with a Clever Partner Agent.